Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cherohala Skyway / "Tail of the Dragon": Preview

I don't have anything else to blog about today, so let's talk about a road trip we're currently planning for either the last weekend of October or the first weekend of November, depending on the weather.

So far, we've taken our nearly three-month-old daughter as far north as Danville, and as far east as Johnston County (map). But that's nothing; I mean, Danville is only an hour away. In a couple of weeks, we're taking Marla on her first real road trip.

The basic idea can be summed up in three bullet points:
- This trip will have about 400 miles of driving, each way. We're going to Toledo for Thanksgiving, and that would be a pretty big leap if we had only taken her as far as the Virginia state line prior to then. 400 miles is still big step up from Danville, but that's how we roll.
- We're going to spend one night in a hotel, which will be a first for Marla, the first of many. Gotta start somewhere.
- Fall foliage!!! I think I get more excited about Fall every year.

There are two roads deep in the Appalachians of western North Carolina that have been on my "road bucket list" for quite a while, and will allow us meet our Marla "road trip test" objectives at the same time. One is the Cherohala Skyway; the other is commonly known as the "Tail of the Dragon".

View Larger Map

The "Tail" boasts 318 curves in an 11-mile stretch. I'm a little skeptical about that number, but I'm not going to ruin the scenery for myself by counting the turns. The nearby Cherohala Skyway, which cost $100 million to build, is supposed to be simply incredible. So, yeah...that's where we're taking Marla. Hope she likes lots of sharp curves!

Along the way, we're also planning on:
- Going on a couple of short hikes using the "baby backpack" (or whatever it's called) where you basically strap the baby to your chest. Hey, we've seen other people go hiking with these things.
- Stopping at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Depending on how we're doing on time, Marla might get her first state highpoint out of this (Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee).
- Staying overnight in Tellico Plains, TN, located near the western end of the Cherohala skyway. I'm really excited about the place we're staying, too.

We haven't gone on an overnight road trip in FIVE MONTHS, which is unheard of for us. We can't wait! Road trips are more difficult when you have a little one (or two) with you, but my hope is that they're not so much more difficult that we won't really want to do them so much anymore after this. But knowing Amber and me, I doubt that will be a problem. I'm already having visions of the three of us going on a week-long road trip next summer sometime. I mean, what else am I going to do with my three weeks vacation?

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